The California Supreme Court announced today that it has upheld the amendment to the state constitution, Proposition 8, that defines a marriage between a man and a woman. The 6-1 vote indicates that the issue being argued - whether the vote was improperly placed in the hands of the voters rather than going to the legislature - was not a close call. I believe that the court made the correct choice from the legal perspective. It is immoral for a panel of a few judges to overturn the votes of millions of citizens, unless there is a clear error in the administration of the amendment process. California's constitution allows for such changes to be made by the voice of the people rather than just the legislature. This is true democracy at work. The result accurately represents the voice of the people, not the agendas of politicians. Regardless of the outcome of the vote, whether we support the marriage amendment or not, it is refreshing to me to know that the judicial system did not usurp power from the people. I also agree with the court ruling that the existing gay marriages should stand. Not that I agree with gay marriage, but those marriages were performed at a time when the law allowed them. They should stand.
So what does this mean for Latter-Day Saints? It means that next year, another election year, the effort to overturn Proposition 8 will begin again. I believe this time it will be more heated. It could become more hostile toward the Church. Remember the protests at the Oakland and Los Angeles Temples? Many temple patrons were frightened, and some physically shaken, by the actions and attitudes of the protesters. What will those protests by like when the demonstrators are more aggressive? Will it actually become dangerous to attend the temple?
I have learned that we cannot convince others of our righteous motives, or of our Christlike love for them, through political debate. This is especially true when the issue is as heated as gay marriage rights. The most convincing argument will not be heard or respected if it is in opposition to an angry group who feels deprived of rights. We must prayerfully learn how the Savior would have us defend our position. One thing I am trying to do is look to the Church's media relations department for examples of press releases and other communications to the public regarding controversial issues. I may not convince anyone of my position, but I can be kind, empathetic and understanding in sharing it.